Mohawk offers stellar Saturday night card

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Ted Black

September 18th, 2015

While the Breeders Crown might still be a month away, standardbred racing fans will want to pay close attention to the racing at Mohawk Raceway on Saturday night which features a bevy of lucrative stakes for trotters of all ages.

Mohawk's third race on Saturday night is the $375,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old colt trotters. While such events are often unpredictable and occasionally produce payoffs that light up the toteboard, much of the attention will be on Southwind Frank (Yannick Gingras) who should rule as the 1-5 choice in here.

Trained by Ron Burke, Southwind Frank has won seven of eight starts and earned over $325,000 already and boasts victories in the Peter Haughton final at the Meadowlands and both the Champlaign and an elim for this event. If he stays flat, Southwind Frank will coast to his eighth victory of the season.

But those willing to bet against him could back both Deep Impact and Brooklyn Hill, the one-two finishers of the other Wellwood elim last weekend. While Southwind Frank scored in 1:56.3, Deep Impact outlasted Brooklyn Hill to prevail in a solid 1:57, so there is not a giant gap between them.

Two races later on the card the track will present the $400,000 Peaceful Way final for two-year-old trotting fillies. Caprice Hill (Tim Tetrick) has won five of six starts and looms as the 3-5 favorite in here, but Celebrity Ventsy (Brett Miller) and All The Time (Gingras) both merit respect and could be upset possibles.

Then two races later in the seventh, the $680,000 Maple Leaf final for older trotters. much of the attention will be focused on the horses toward the inside, Resolve (Ake Svandstedt) and Bee A Magician (Brian Sears).

Resolve won his elim last week in sharp fashion, while Bee A Magician settled for second in her's after a good try. Natural Herbie (Verlin Yoder) won his elim and is rounding into form, while JL Cruze (John Campbell) will be looking to regain his winning ways after a pair of dull efforts, including a fifth-place finish in his elim last week. Obrigado raced well last week and looms an upset chance.

Then two races later in the ninth, the $400,000 Elegant Image final for three-year-old filly trotters, all of the attention will be on the superbly talented Mission Brief (Gingras). A winner of six of eight starts this year and 15 of 21 lifetime outings, Mission Brief romped home 15 lengths clear in her elim and should coast here as long as she stays flat.

But Wild Honey (Campbell) is a definite upset possibility, especially is Mission Brief goes off stride which she has done in several lucrative spots. Wild Honey has won four of 10 starts this year, including the Hambletonian Oaks and she sports 14 wins in 22 career outings. She was simply born as the same year as Mission Brief and been overshadowed by that one thus far.

Then one race later in the 10th, the $700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for three-year-old trotting colts, much of the attention will be on Hambo winner Pinkman (Gingras) who returned to form last week after a pair of rough outings at Yonkers Raceway in New York.

Pinkman has won nine of 13 starts and earned over $1.2 million this year for Takter and he is among the early contenders for horse of the year. But two of his stablemates, Uncle Lasse and The Bank, will want to upend him here as will Crazy Wow (Tetrick) who bested him in the Colonial at Pocono Downs and again in the Yonkers Trot elim. Centurion ATM (Svandstedt) has a chance if he stays flat.

Then on Monday night the older pacers will be on display at Harrington Raceway when the track offers the ninth annual, $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial. Defending champion Foiled Again will have the rail against a stellar group that includes Canadian invader Shamballa, Haughton winner Mach It So and local stars Bandolito, Dancin Yankee and Just A Jolt.